An Open Letter To All Boys & Men: I Am Not Your Responsibility

Posted: November 5, 2015

If some men did not harm women in the first place, would men need to assume responsibility for women’s safety? We need equality, not protection!

Dear Boys/Men,

Your sensitiveness towards woman and the atrocities she faces is highly appreciated. Your steps towards making the world a better place for women to live in is remarkable. Thanks a lot for all your effort and thoughts.

Alas! These days, many posts and quotes which propagate the notion of women being men’s responsibility are going viral, mostly initiated by men (as far as I have seen). Social media is flooded with such opinions and discussions. Men are sharing their views about women being their responsibility and women, unfortunately, are further espousing the opinion. With this respect I just want to clarify a few things.

I am not your responsibility. If you are not my responsibility then how can I be yours? I am a human being just like you. I can also walk, talk, eat, pray, work, sleep, do most of the things you do, may be in a slightly different manner. I can take care of myself. I don’t need a bodyguard to protect me from other men. I am my own responsibility. You don’t have to safeguard my prestige from other men. I have the will power and courage to do all of that on my own, yes, on my own.

Let’s now think how that is possible. Rather let’s ponder over why are ‘you’ not ‘my’ responsibility? Because you can wander around freely on roads without feeling unsafe, at any time of the day or night. Because you can wear anything and no one will pass lewd remarks or gape at you. Because you don’t have to hesitate before knocking at the door of a female friend who is alone. Because you don’t have to be afraid to stay back late in the office. Because you don’t have to shift places after marriage. Because you are certain that I will never harm you, will never snatch your dignity away, will never put a black mark on your character, will never….

But sadly, this does not stand true for you. I can never rest assured. I will always have those second thoughts. No doubts you are working hard to help me (us), but please think why you have to even work towards bettering the society for me in the first place. I am not working towards the same goal for you to live a safer life. Safety is something that is one’s birth right. Strangely, I don’t get to enjoy it.

Late at night or in a deserted place you can wait for an auto or bus self-assured, even if you are surrounded by many women. Poignantly, I will scrunch myself, both physically and emotionally, ‘be vigilant and alert’ will straightaway start ringing in my head and my mind will start searching for ways to protect myself. Doesn’t this ring an alarm bell in your mind? How one human has to toil her way to be safe whilst on the contrary the other one remains unscathed in the same situation? As a matter of fact either we should both be in peril or none should be in that situation.

You create precarious situations for me and then claim to protect me from the danger (created by you only). In this whole process, I become your responsibility. In simple words, you first make the world perilous for me, and then you protect me from that peril. Ironically, the outcome of the whole ruckus caused by you is to be faced by me. You become the hero and I the ‘responsibility’.

Hope you now get why should I not be your responsibility and how can I take care of myself. Help us in making the world equal for all and give us the prospects to feel the same as you do.

Yours Sincerely,

A Proud Woman

superhero image via Shutterstock

An educationist by profession, feminist by nature and a believer by passion.

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  1. BULLS EYE……kudos to you, Tanvi. May your tribe increase…

  2. Thank You Chintu.

  3. As a guy, I have to keep telling myself “I shouldn’t feel guilty for how other guys behave”. Just as like a human I have to say “I don’t share in the guilt of my species” (or maybe I do…). I get soooo pissed off when I hear people say “Would you allow your daughter/sister/mother/wife to wear this/do that”. And I have to reply “Umm…there is no question of allow. Adults above 18 have the right to do whatever they want and if my mother chooses to walk down the road naked, that’s HER choice. I can counsel, I can advise, but I cannot prohibit.”

    • Very well said Bhagwad. I really wish every other person, man or woman, learn soon to respect each other and appreciate the differences that exists between individuals. To accept differences and learn to let go, if it is not our cup of tea is the need of the hour……this is true wisdom.

    • Dear Bhagwat, I hope your thoughts become infectious.

  4. Well written Tanvi Wish u luck for keep on writing such articles.

  5. I wonder how many men and boys will bother to read your story and make any changes in their behaviour?

    • Dear Kishwer, Even if handful of men read and agree it would be a great achievement. And if women realise their worth and the fact that they are not anyone’s responsibility the work is done. I can only share my thoughts, it is purely on the person who reads to apply and accept it. I can’t impress on anyone.

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